Wish List for Baby Girl

I spend entirely too much time on Instagram and one of the perks disadvantages is that I find the most gorgeous things for my girls. I mean…there are so many shops and handmade businesses out there just waiting for me to scroll through. I get sucked in. I mostly “window” shop these days, choosing instead to buy secondhand..read here, but I am saving up for some things that I just adore for baby girl #3 . Click on the links to see where they can be purchased and take some time to look through these awesome shops!

Wish List for Baby Girl

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1.  pom pom swaddle/ 2. girlie glue set/ 3. jersey bow headband

4. floral swaddle and beanie/ 5. girly felt bow/ 6. covered goods nursing poncho

7. basic blanket

How to save money on kids clothes

When it comes to shopping for my girls I have a bit of an obsession. Nothing makes my heart beat quite as fast as when I stumble upon an amazing deal on something I absolutely LOVE for them. I wasn’t always a deal junkie. When Emerald was an only child I would just shop at Target or Old Navy, often paying full price with no mind to sales or coupons. Ah , those were blissful days. At the time I was working as a nurse in addition to my husband and the extra income was nice. But staying home full-time with my 2 (soon to be 3) girls is far better. I can still find great deals on super cute things. It just takes a little more searching and planning. Here is how to save money on kids clothes.

how to save money on kids clothes

1.) “Hand me downs”. This might seem obvious and a little boring but let me tell you, some of the most worn clothes my girls have are hand me downs given to us by friends and family. I never turn away someone who wants to give me free clothes! You just may have to spot clean or pick and choose what you like and donate the rest. Let it be known that you are happy to take used clothes off your friends hands.

2) Buy from friends. Along the same lines. I have had a few friends that didn’t necessarily want to just give away their nice clothes. Instead, I would go to their house and look through their stuff and we agree upon a price for the lot of it. You still save a ton and it’s nice knowing exactly who wore the clothes before your kids.

3.) Consignment sales. Probably one of my MOST favorite ways to get my girls clothes. I am like a kid before Christmas the night before a consignment sale. We have a local sale here twice a year that I look forward to and I will move heaven and earth to be there each time. I get there right when it opens and stand in line. I am never disappointed by the selection of clothes and toys. I have also sold clothes in this consignment sale as well. This is a nice way to try and “break even” with your purchases. Check out Consignment Mommies on Facebook for help learning where to find consignment sales.

4. Thrift stores. If you are like my husband you turn up your nose at thrift stores. Not me buddy, I am not afraid to get in there and search for treasures. Yes, many things at thrift stores are in worse condition than say, a consignment store, but there are great things to find if you give a little effort. Goodwill is an obvious choice but be on the lookout for smaller, local thrift stores as well. My favorite has a 25 cent sale day on Wednesdays where ALL clothes are a quarter each. I have found great baby and toddler clothes that way. Make sure to ask about special sale days at your thrift stores.

5. Ebay. It never occurred to me until recently to shop on Ebay for kids clothes. Then I heard a friend mention a great deal she found and I was off to the races. Since then I have found numerous great deals, mostly on infant clothes. A few tips : search for “lots” of clothes. You can often find better deals per piece that way. Make sure to calculate shipping into your total per piece of clothing, otherwise you will get slammed with shipping charges.  Lastly, if it says “or best offer” then make an offer! I always will make an offer and more often than not the seller will accept it.

I will leave it at those 5 suggestions so as to not waterboard you with info. Just know that there are tons of other ways to save money! I didn’t even go into garage sales, online garage sales, online consignment…not to mention just regular old sales and coupons at your favorite kids stores (target, old navy, the children’s place, etc.) I hope you’ve been sufficiently motivated to search for the hidden treasures and save money on your kids clothes!

Alina: 9 +10 Month

I’ve gone back and forth about posting these updates about my girls on this blog. I know it is more personal and may not appeal to those looking for more “How-to” kind of posts. I was keeping them on an older, personal blog but that was getting too complicated. I decided that this is my space and it makes more sense to keep it all here in one place. If this is not your type of post. Stick around and you’ll see a variety of other topics.

 

Alina Dawn : 9 + 10 month update
Weight :19 lbs 14 oz
Height: 28 inches
Eating: This girl loves to eat! She drinks 3 bottles of formula per day, anywhere from 4-7 oz. I am working on cutting these out and replacing with Almond milk. Which is our milk of choice. Other than that she eats just about anything we eat. She super loves beans, blueberries, bread, strawberries, sweet potatoes and any of those fruit pouches.

 

Teeth: She has 5 teeth and one barely coming in. It’s so cute because when she smiles it makes her look lopsided. I just love her cheeks that shows her dimples when it’s her biggest smile.

 

Sleeping: She takes 2 naps. 1 hr mid-morning and about 2 hours mid-afternoon. Bedtime is between 7-8 pm depending on what’s going on. She falls asleep completely on her own and usually wakes up about 9am. I don’t know how I got 2 such great sleepers! Every now and then she wakes up at night if she loses her paci. She settles back down when I give it back to her.
Nicknames: Alina Lou, Wina Woo, Lina, Snuggle Buns, Seester, Sis

 

Diapers: Size 4 Luvs or Target Brand

 

Clothes: She is wearing mostly 12 months and several 18 month shirts and tights.

 

Loves: This girl is our sunshine and light. Just like her name means. She loves to play with Emma. She loves to laugh and play with her activity table. She loves to lay her cheek against soft blankets and stuffed animals.  She is happiest when you are holding her. She loves to be outside and play at the park on the swing or slide. She squeals when she sees Paris and laughs when Paris licks her. She loves taking baths with big sister. She loves to dance. There isn’t much that doesn’t make her happy.

 

Dislikes: I guess she dislikes being overly tired since she becomes very fussy, she’s not fond of strangers getting in her personal space. She doesn’t like when the neighbor dogs bark really loud. She doesn’t like wearing bows or headbands unless you sneak it on her and she forgets about it.

 

Health: She has had 1 cold this winter but she handled it like a champ.
Things to Remember: When she wants something she says “ah ah ah ah” and reaches for it until we give it.  After baths she puts the towel over head to play peek a boo.

 

Milestones: She celebrated her first Christmas and that was fun! She got lots of new toys including the activity table and a huge stuffed dog from her daddy that she loves.

Emma’s Room: Shabby chic kid’s room

I’ve always wanted to do a post with pictures of Emma’s room or really any room in our house. Until we moved into the house we live in now it was just too dark. We had almost no natural light. And while the light we have now isn’t great, it is much better. Her room isn’t perfect but it is something that I put alot of time into before she was born and along the way I have collected things. I love all the little things about it. We’re getting ready to move her into a twin bed but I want to keep the decor the same because I just love it.

My next project is to finish Alina’s room and I will definitely share pictures when I do.

Enjoy the pictures and if you have specific questions about where something came from just let me know.

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Essentials for breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is something that I am very passionate about. Even before we started our family I always knew it was what I wanted to do. There was never a question in my mind. My mom, mother in law and sister all did it and were a great support system. The hospital that I have had both of my girls in is very pro-breastfeeding. There is a fabulous LC, Mrs Susan, that will spend as much time as it takes with you before you discharge to see that you have questions answered and are feeling comfortable with it. What a gem she is.

I was fortunate to breastfeed Emerald for 1 year without a single issue. She was a dream baby. I loved every minute of it. With Alina, I  naively thought it would go the same way. We did fine for exactly 12 weeks when she decided she was done. For real…no negotiations. My mind was blown and after  much struggling and tears I decided to let go of my ideal “breastfeeding experience” and let her be . After that she was happy as a monkey in a banana tree. I pumped for 5 more months until my supply dwindled due to me being too busy to pump (imagine that). Now she is 100% formula fed and I am more than ok with it! She’s happy, healthy and growing.

I hope that with my next baby I will be able to breastfeed for at least 1 year again but if not, I know we will be just fine!

All that being said, I still have spent quite some time nursing my babes and I wanted to tell you some of my favorite nursing products. Things that  make it easier for you or that are just nice to have on hand.

These are my Essentials for breastfeeding

breastfeeding

1.Boppy // 2 Disposable pads  // 3. Lanolin

4. Nursing Cover // 5. Comfy tee // 6. Sleep bra // 7. Nursing bra

8. Refillable water bottle // 9. Easy snacks 

     

Bedtime routine with a toddler and a newborn

 Emerald was 19 months old when Alina was born. I knew going into it that having 2 kids under 2 would be no easy feat. I would have to say that the transition was surprisingly easier than I thought it would be but I think that had alot to do with my husband having a 2 month paternity leave (can I get a high-five?!).

 Back to my point. I think that one of the most challenging issues was creating a bedtime routine with a toddler and a newborn. Once Jonathan went back to working nights that made it even more difficult since I was doing it alone most nights. I can remember in those early days how stressful it was trying to time it juuuust right where I would have time to do bedtime with Emma without a hungry or tired Alina interrupting us. I thought we would never figure it out and that our bedtime was doomed to chaos.

I am here to tell you that if you just hang in there it does get easier. As do most things when it comes to having 2 under 2. In the meantime I thought I would share some tips that may or may not help. Some of these may seem pretty obvious or irrelevant to you so if you read this and think, “That didn’t help at all” then just keep doing whatever you’re doing and eventually it will get better.

bedtime routine

1. Have a routine already in place. I can’t stress this enough. I tell people all the time that I am so glad we worked hard on Emerald’s bedtime routine and sleep issues BEFORE Alina was born. Newborns have crazy enough sleep schedules that you don’t need a toddler who doesn’t know how to sleep either. If at all possible, get your toddler in a good routine before the new addition arrives. Having this in place did wonders for our family. It was our safety net. If you’re curious to read  how we got Emma sleeping so well read here.

2. Work your new baby into the existing routine. Along the same lines as #1, don’t try to create a brand new routine once baby gets here. You are going to have a confused and stressed out toddler. It is much easier to work around the schedule in place since newborns are generally flexible in the sense that they won’t notice if their bedtime gets pushed back 30 minutes every now and then but a toddler most definitely will.

3. Pacify the baby before you start bedtime routine. Bedtime is always 8pm at our house. So If I knew that the baby was supposed to eat at 8:15pm I would always feed her a little early so she wasn’t squawking just as I was trying to rock my toddler. Same goes for diaper changes and burping….just get them situated so you know you have a clear 15-20 mins.

4. Include the baby. There were times when I just couldn’t time it right and I ended up rocking both at one time. That’s ok. If you have to bring the baby into the routine by having them lay on the ground on a blanket or in their Rock and Play while you read, sing or rock your toddler then do it. For us this wasn’t ideal in the beginning since babies can be noisy and exciting to a toddler who you are trying to get to bed . But you just have to do what you have to do.

5. Ask for help. If you are blessed to have your spouse home every night for bedtime then that is awesome! Get them involved. I know on the nights Jon was home we would take turns. One would do bedtime routine with Emma while the other hung out with Alina. If you are going it alone then don’t be afraid to ask for help from your mom, sister, friend, neighbor….anyone you trust. Even just 30 minutes to help you get through bedtime in those early weeks will help tremendously.

I hope these helped or sparked some ideas. Of course, they are geared more towards the early newborn weeks. Bedtime now looks much different with a 2.5 year old and a 9 month old. It’s a sister affair with baths together and snuggles together while we pray and do our routine as a family. Those days are coming soon. You just hang in there and don’t stress about it mama!

5 Christmas items kids can interact with and Mommy won’t stress over!

It’s official. The holidays are in full swing around here and from the looks of my Instagram and Facebook feed they are just about everywhere else as well. If you were like me your Holiday decorations were up well before Thanksgiving. If you were holding off until the official Christmas season you are now in the clear and are probably pulling down your boxes as we speak.

Here’s the thing, decorating with little curious humans running around can be tricky. Of course we want to teach our girls that there are certain things we just don’t touch because we said so. But at the same time I want them to know that Christmas is fun and magical! I want them to be able to learn about the meaning of Christmas and interact (aka play) with some fun decorations! I need to not stress over thinking they are going to break every single thing that they pick up! It’s no fun for anyone to have to constantly say “No, put that down!”.

So I went on the hunt and found 5 Christmas items kids can interact with and Mommy won’t stress over.

You’re welcome.

stress free

1. Felt Christmas tree. Here’s an idea. Get your kids their own Christmas tree to decorate and re-decorate to their heart’s content. There are lots of these to be found on Etsy but I really love the look of this white one with bright ornaments. Just stick it on the wall and let them have at it. There is a vinyl version on Amazon that sticks to glass if that works better for your house.

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2. Chalkboard Ornament. I’m really excited about this one ya’ll!  We all know and love the classic glass ball ornaments. But let’s be real, those are not a good idea with kids running around. Even with a kid who knows not to touch, all it takes is one bump or shake of the tree and you have a shattered mess. The solution is this handmade, chalkboard 1D version of the ball. It hangs on the tree but is a chalkboard so the kids can have so much fun writing and drawing on it. It  is smooth to the touch and wipes off effortlessly . You don’t have to fear them dropping it and is a great addition to your ornament collection. You really can’t go wrong and the price is outstanding. Get yours here.

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3. Little People Nativity set.– It’s best to put your glass nativity set up high and out of reach and pull out a fun set like this one. My girls love anything Little People so this one is a no brainer. I love that they could play with it and it can be used as an awesome tool to tell the story of Jesus’ birth. Win win in my book.

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4. Christmas Finger puppets. – I came across these on Etsy and thought they looked so cute! Imagine the bedtime fun you could have making up stories and reading Christmas books with the help of these little guys.

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5. Nativity Puzzle.  – I know, another nativity set. I couldn’t help it. This one is so cool! This nativity can be set up and enjoyed as well as played with as a puzzle. I love how versatile it is. It can go from coffee table centerpiece to kids entertainment just like that. It’s handmade from Cedar so I know it smells amazing. Get yours here.

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Have anything to add? Hope you enjoyed!

Why not giving your kids everything is a good idea

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A few days ago we were all enjoying an afternoon outside in our yard. Jon was mowing the grass, I was sitting on a blanket with Alina trying to keep her from eating leaves and Emma was just happily riding around on her pink car. The car has a back piece that sticks up so you could also push it around if you wanted. So she starts imitating her dad who is mowing the grass by pushing her little car all around, “mowing” her grass. Just as happy and content as could be. I watched her for only a few seconds before my mind jumped to ” Oh she would LOVE a play push mower for Christmas!”  I pulled out my phone to add it to her Christmas list I keep on there but I stopped for just a second longer and watched her…

Why was my first instinct to try to give her something else? Watching her I knew she would be just as happy pushing that toy car around as she would be pushing a plastic mower around. She would never know the difference. Pushing the car around she was using her imagination and being allowed to play make-believe much like I used to growing up. I  snapped a picture and put my phone back down. I didn’t add it to the list.

This is something I struggle with. I LOVE to give my kids things. I LOVE to shop. One of the ways I express love is through gift giving. I only have to take a look up from this computer to see the toys scattered here and there to know that is true. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. I know there isn’t . It’s how God created me. Where the problems lies is when I try to fill our life with so many “things” and fulfill every single want that there isn’t room to breathe. No room to be creative. No room to enjoy the simple things like pretending to mow the grass with your toy car. I want to be so careful that I don’t squelch their uniqueness and little inquisitive minds by buying them one of everything and leaving them no room to run free with their minds.

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Don’t get me wrong. There will be gift buying this year, there will be wrapped presents under the tree. Probably a few too many. I can’t help it, I love to see their faces when they get something they love. What I want to take away from this is an awareness. I want to be thoughtful in what I buy them. I want there to be gifts that encourage them to be playful and creative. Something they will love and can use in many ways. I don’t want 100 different toys littering the play area and whiny children that are bored because they have everything they could ever want and don’t know how to actually play.

So this is why not giving your kids everything is a good idea. Let them be. Let them play. Let them grow and learn.

What about you? How do you stay focused and streamline your gift giving amid all the Holiday bustle? What are some of your favorite thoughtful gifts for kids or adults?

Linking up here

Gift Ideas for a 2 year old boy

I thought it only fair, since I posted my gift ideas for a 2 year old girl and a 9 month old girl  that I put together one for a boy. Of course, I don’t have a boy so I turned to my sister for help. She has 2 boys that are almost the same age as my girls. I said “I need you to tell me the top things your big boy would love for Christmas!”. She didn’t disappoint. Oh the wonderful world of boy’s toys. I love this list and I know many of you have boys that would love some of these things too! So here you have it, gift ideas for a 2-year-old boy.

boy gifts

Click on the links below to see where they can be purchased.

1.Drum Set//2.Thomas the train play rug//3.Balls

4.Loops N Swoop racetrack//5.Riding tractor//6.Wooden trains

7.Aliens in underpants book//8.Superhero toys

How I got my baby to sleep through the night

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I get asked often how I got my baby to sleep thought the night. I’m so convinced that the most difficult issue when it comes to parenting babies and toddlers is sleep. It all comes down to sleep. Your sleep, their sleep…everybody’s sleep. You can see it in the dark circles under the new mom’s eyes or even in the frazzled mom of non-sleeping toddlers. Occasionally you will come across someone who says their baby was an excellent sleeper since birth. Well good for them. I’m pretty sure these babies are the exception to rule. I can’t tell you how many times I googled “How I got my baby to sleep through the night” in desperation only to get so frustrated at reading accounts of people whose babies just magically sleep so well. I hesitated to even write this post for that reason. I can assure you this is not one of those accounts.

I had to work for it and work at it. I don’t have a quick formula or a 10 step plan. If you have a 12 week old that you are wanting to sleep through the night like… tonight then you probably won’t find this much help. I’m just going to tell you what I did with both of my girls that worked both times. The proof is in the pudding and both of my girls sleep 12-13 hours at night without waking even once (95% of the time).

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Emma’s sleep story:

When I was pregnant with my first I read Babywise and thought “Why yes, I would like to give my infant the gift of nighttime sleep.” I tried to implement this plan from the start and spent the better part of her first 5 months stressed and frustrated because she wasn’t sleeping…wasn’t following my plan….wasn’t napping long enough…etc. I wish I could go back to those early days and shake myself and tell myself to reellaaaxxx, take a chill pill,let your baby nap in the swing and go take a nap yourself.

Then we tried co-sleeping out of desperation and that semi worked but not really because I was sleeping so poorly and she was still waking so often at night to nurse. Which made for a cranky and sore mama.

**(Let me just stop and say that I am not someone who expects a baby to sleep through the night before a certain age. I think babies NEED to eat at night for some time and I actually enjoy night feeds…to a certain extent {i.e not every hour})

I was against cry it out from the beginning, my heart could not take it. I knew from reading Babywise that this was what I was “supposed” to do. Instead I continued trying to co-sleep and after several more months of struggling with naps and getting to her to go and stay asleep at night my husband said “enough”. By this time she was 9 months old and I knew we couldn’t continue this way. I was at a breaking point so I agreed to try  a modified version of cry it out.

On the night we chose to start we did our usual bed time routine with prayers, rocking and good night kisses. We put her in her crib and left the room. She cried. Yes she did. She was able to stand up so she spent the better part of 30 minutes standing up crying. We checked in on her every 5-10 minutes depending on the level of her crying. If she had thrown her paci we would pick it up and give it back. After a total of 47 minutes of on and off crying with very frequent checks, hugs, kisses and reassurances from us..all was quiet. She was asleep and guess what??! She slept the entire night. She had NEVER done that. The next day we did the same for naps and night again. She put up a mild 15 minute fuss at naps and a 30 minute fuss at bedtime. Again we checked on her, kissed her, hugged her and reassured her that it was ok to lay down and go to sleep. Again she slept through the night. On the 3rd night would you know that she didn’t cry at all…she laid down and went to sleep for 13 hours. I literally was beside myself with excitement. Of course, I still went in to check on her to make sure she was breathing. She was fine…turns out she just needed her own space.

Since that time she has slept like this and now at 2 years old she still sleeps from 8pm-8:30am and I don’t hear a peep. Now of course we have gone through phases where she will fight it a little more (18 month sleep regression anyone?) or when we took her paci away or if she’s feeling sick.

I think a few things contributed to our success. -Her age: she was 9 months old so it was a little easier to let her cry and I knew she wasn’t hungry. -Our resoluteness: I think she could sense that our minds were made up and this was the way it was going to be.- Her disposition: I do think her disposition had something to do with it. She is a very mild-mannered child and not very stubborn so she didn’t put up too much of a fight unlike her sister (more on that below).

Alina’s sleep story:

This story won’t be nearly as long.

I didn’t read a single sleep help book during my pregnancy with Alina. I had learned my lesson. I let her nap in the swing nearly all the time and at night she slept in the rock and play beside me. I fed her whenever she wanted to eat and didn’t stress about it. We slept snuggled up together often. It was amazing and I will always cherish those days.

When she was 6 months old I knew she was ready . You can read about our struggle with transitioning out of the swaddle here. That was a whole other issue in itself. Once we got that figured out I knew she was ready to sleep on her own. We followed the same plan that we did with her older sister. I knew since she was younger and more strong-willed that I would be going in her room more often and that it might take a little longer. I was right. She cried longer and it took about 6 days. I had a lot of empathy for her and often would go and pick her up until she settled down. Sometimes holding her for 10 or 20 minutes. I would even nurse her sometimes to calm her. I knew this probably went against traditional cry it out methods but I didn’t care. I knew what she needed and I wanted her to know I was there for her. After that first week she figured it out. She began going to sleep on her own and only waking at night if she was hungry which at first was 2 times, then just once and now…she doesn’t wake at all. There was no crying involved in dropping those feedings. I was prepared to let her eat at night for a few more months but she decided she was done. Now she too sleeps from 7pm-8am and is a great napper as well.

I have so much more I could say about the subject of baby sleep. Another day. Today I just wanted to share these stories in hopes that it might encourage someone. If you have any questions or just need encouragement please don’t hesitate to contact me. Sleep deprivation is no joke. Hang in there mama’s! It does get better.

Click here to read what about items I suggest to help your baby sleep better.